Ethical Guidelines for Research Submitted to
Mass Communication and Society
(Adapted from the AEJMC Code of Ethics)
I. Plagiarism and conflict of interest are unethical and are a direct violation of research standards
Plagiarism is not tolerated. Authors should never take credit for or present someone else’s work as their own, whether the work is published or not. All words, ideas, and pictures that are taken from another source must be accurately and completely cited. In addition, authors must present credit for their own previously published work. This gives credit to the editor and publisher of prior research who participated in the creative process. Research also must be designed free of conflict of interest. Studies that are conducted with the intent to produce an outcome that is consistent with a funding sponsor, institution, or research agenda are violating research standards.
II. Treat Research Participants with Respect
Research participants should be treated with respect, fairness, and integrity. They should never be forced to participate in a study, and their responses should remain confidential. All authors must have informed consent from participants, and they must explain procedures to participants prior to and after the experiment.
III. Research must be reported accurately
The research must be collected and report the study's purpose, procedures, and results both accurately and objectively. It is unethical to fabricate data and to exclude information that may influence the accuracy of the research. In addition, slanting the writing or incorporating biases in a research study to produce an outcome that supports or negates hypotheses or research questions is unethical. If errors are found in the research, the author must tell the journal editor right away, regardless of the status of the manuscript in the submission process.
IV. Authors of Manuscripts
The first author is responsible for a majority of the communication concerning the submitted manuscript. Co-authors, however, contribute to the research study and must provide required information as well. The ordering of author names for co-authored manuscripts should reflect the level of contribution to the conceptualization, direction, and original writing of a research project. Those who only enact the directions of others without sufficient creative input should be thanked in acknowledgements. Equal contributions of authors should be ordered through a random process, which may also be acknowledged in a footnote if desired.
Changes in Authorship (adding and removing authors before publication)
If a corresponding author requests addition of an extra author before publication, corresponding authors must clarify the reason for change in authorship. All authors must submit a written form indicating their consent to the addition of the extra author. If all authors agree, then the new author will need to sign the journal’s copyright agreement form and submit it to the journal editor. If all authors do not agree, then the paper will be withdrawn from publication. The same procedures apply if a corresponding author requests that an author is removed before publication. Authors must clarify reason for change, and all must consent to the removal of the author.
Changes in Authorship (adding and removing authors after publication)
If there is a request for an addition of an extra author after publication, corresponding authors must clarify the reason for the change in authorship. They all must also submit a signed written statement acknowledging their approval of the new author. If there is a request to remove an author after publication, corresponding authors must clarify their reason for this change. All authors must agree with the change, including the excluded author.
V. Submit Original Work
Manuscripts submitted must be original work and not work that has been published somewhere else. Manuscripts that contain sections that are identical or are re-writes of sections found in previously published articles will not be accepted. This includes sections by the same author in prior publications. Re-use of identical data sets or portions of data sets used in prior research must also be acknowledged and must put forward sufficiently new analyses of that data so as to be original.
VI. Editors and Reviewers must keep Manuscripts Confidential
Manuscripts must be kept confidential throughout the editorial review process. They must be critiqued and assessed objectively on the quality of work, and not on personal opinions or beliefs. Additionally, editors and reviewers should follow American Psychological Association (APA) guidelines when reviewing manuscripts.
VII. Respect for Human Subjects
All research submitted to Mass Communication and Society must adhere to the following ethical standards for researching, conducting, analyzing, and publishing research studies.
• Since this is a mass communication journal, research studies may be conducted on humans or artifacts. Research methodologies involving humans may include surveys, experiments, participant observation, in-depth interviews, or focus groups
• Research studies that focus on artifacts of humans might include methods such as content analysis, textual analysis, or unobtrusive observation.
• If Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval is required for human subjects’ research, it is the responsibility of the researchers to follow the guidelines of their university's IRB. It is important to emphasize, though, that these guidelines should not include the practice of journalism.
• It is important to keep in mind that IRB's are primarily concerned with the treatment of human subjects, but human participants represent only one component of a research study. Ethical standards also apply to conducting or supervising research studies as well as journal editors, editorial boards, research chairs, and reviewers. -(Taken from AEJMC Ethical Research Guidelines)
For access to the AEJMC Code of Ethics, which addresses expected practices in addition to those specific to this journal, visit the AEJMC web page.
*aPPROVED AND posted jANUARY 2009